Case studies

Rica Hotels: From vision to printout

04/06/2007

The hotel chain Rica Hotels ASA has now implemented a new computer system in all their hotels. They have optimised their IT strategy by centralising the new data system, both in Norway and in Sweden.

About 400 printers from OKI Printing Solutions provide Rica Hotels with everything from advertising material and menus, to administrative documents, invoices and receipts.

The new computer system has about 1,000 users with a variety of demands to the system. Common to all users is that they need printouts on paper, whether it is for reports or for receipts for the customers.

Strategy - from decentralisation to centralisation

The management of Rica Hotels were faced with an IT challenge. The old system, consisting of a number of different systems, was spread throughout chain's 60 (approximately) hotels. It was a particularly costly way for Rica Hotels to administrate their various computer systems spread over a large number of locations in Norway and Sweden.

Rica Hotels invested time in the long-term and detailed process of developing a new IT strategy for the entire hotel chain. They did not find any other similar cases that they could compare with. The strategy had to be built up from the ground with a clear vision about how the system should function. One of the objectives of the strategy was to standardise the administration of the various hotels' computer systems.

"We had a vision for how Rica Hotel's computer system could work so that it could perform as a profitable, modern and future orientated tool. It is vital for a company to have the right computer system. It must work 24 hours a day, and we use it actively 99.8% of the time, measured over a 14 day period. Now it will also be easier for other hotels to implement new systems in the future" says Hans Vigstad, IT manager at Rica Hotels ASA.

Challenges

The choice of printers was a central part of the strategy chosen by Rica Hotels to reduce the number of printers and drivers to a minimum in order to achieve increased reliability.

The centralisation led to the printers being the greatest challenge for the implementation of the new computer system. The printouts were needed for different purposes. Overall, the printers were to be shared by a number of people and very few of them have their own printers to deal with confidential information. Rica Hotels wanted one single supplier for all their printers in order to simplify the implementation process and future maintenance.

"We chose OKI Printing Solutions for our printers because they are very cost-effective, both with regard to colour and black and white toner replacements. Rica Hotels already had positive experiences with OKI Printing Solutions from earlier and it was important that they could maintain a high level of service and didn't just fob something off on us" says Vigstad.

Rica Hotels have based their system on a Citrix terminal server solution and because it can usually be a challenge for printers, OKI Printing Solutions (Norway) guaranteed assistance with adjusting drivers if required.

"When it came to implementing the printers, we had a problem with our computer system. We have implemented printer clusters in order to guarantee that the printers are always operating and it was a challenge to get OKI Printing Solutions printer drivers to fit into this environment. OKI Printing Solutions (Norway) brought in two developers from Scotland who resolved the issue in cooperation with developers in Japan", says Vigstad.

"We achieved a system that works in the manner we had defined it in our strategy plan. The printers were the final link that had to fall into place before we could say that the implementation was completed, and now it is. We are very pleased with both the actual printers and with the input from OKI Printing Solutions (Norway) that helped us to get the optimal solution in place" says Vigstad.

Rica Hotels care for the environment

When a company replaces all its machinery, the old equipment must be disposed of. The company Eurovironment was hired to handle the existing equipment in the most environmentally friendly manner possible. Hard disks were emptied of all information. Then well-functioning PC's and printers went to a variety of good causes.

"The environment is an important factor for Rica Hotels. Since we could no longer use the equipment in our new computer system, it was important for us that others could put it to use. We will now replace up to 60%, which will go out to municipalities in the area" concludes Vigstad.

About Rica Hotels

Rica Hotels ASA is Norway's largest and only nation-wide hotel chain with about 90 hotels in Norway and Sweden as well as Nordkapphallen and Nusfjord Rorbueanlegg.

* About 90 hotels in Norway and Sweden

* Leading hotel chain in Norway

* About 12,000 rooms

* About 3 million overnight stays

* About 4,300 employees

* Annual turnover of about NOK 2 billion

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